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Hamilton celebrates 130 years of Probation in NZ

News Release

For immediate release

11 Aug 2016

Hamilton Community Corrections celebrates 130 years of Probation in NZ

This week the Department of Corrections celebrates the 130th anniversary of probation services in New Zealand.

Much has changed since 1886 when New Zealand was the first country in the world to introduce probation. When the service was first established, there were 18 people placed on probation and by 1949 there were seven full-time probation officers. In 2016 there are 1,200 full-time paid probation officers nationally managing around 30,000 people serving sentences in the community.

During the 1970s Community Corrections was based in the old Māori Land Court building on the corner of Anglesea and Thackery Streets, before moving to Clarence Street. Over the years sites have been located at Norton Road, Anglesea Street, Myrtle Street, Hill Street and Tristram Street. Currently, Hamilton has six sites which will all move to a centralised hub in London Street later this year.

A total of 185 Probation officers, Psychologists, Programme Facilitators, Community Work Supervisors, Managers and Administrators across the cityhelp to manage 2,491 people on a range of sentences in the community in Hamilton. Across the Waikato there are 3,332 serving sentences in the community.

Of those it manages, 44 percent have a Community Work sentence, 4 percent are on home detention and 3 percent are on parole. 79 percent are male and 24 percent are aged under 25.

Community Corrections holds people to account while providing opportunities to make positive changes which will reduce the risk of re-offending.

Waikato District Manager Rowan Balloch highlights the important role that Community Corrections plays locally:

“Probation officers make a significant contribution to their local communities by supporting those they work with become contributing members of society. The work they do is interesting, challenging and dynamic. No two days are ever the same.

“Probation officers have a dual role - they manage sentences in a way that support offenders to turn their lives around, while also using risk assessments and monitoring to ensure public safety and sentence integrity. We also provide about 200 assessments and recommendations to the court across the Waikato each month which help with sentencing decisions.”

Some of the opportunities offered by Community Corrections in Hamilton include: Work and Living Skills programmes, rehabilitation programmes, and employment, education and training support.

Work and Living Skills training involves everyday skills that offenders need to successfully return to their community, live an offence free life, and help them to find and keep a job.

“Around 300 people complete an intervention each month, of which about 200 complete Department Work and Living Skills programmes. This doesn’t include brief interventions provided by probation officers during focused case-work sessions,” says Rowan:

The Department of Corrections is currently recruiting across all frontline roles. If you think you would like to work as a Probation Officer, Corrections Officer, Case Manager, Programme Facilitator, or Instructor check out their website here: http://frontlinejobs.corrections.govt.nz/

ENDS

Additional Information:

Corrections’ Central Region covers a large geographic area from just north of Te Kauwhata to just south of Turangi stretching across the widest part of New Zealand. The Corrections’ Central Region includes more than 20 Community Corrections sites and three prisons (Tongariro Prison, Waikeria Prison and Spring Hill Corrections Facility) across three Districts: Bay of Plenty, Waikato, and Rotorua/Taupo/Tokoroa.

Nationally each week the Department of Corrections manage over 35,000 sentences and orders in the community and over 9,000 people in prison. Our 8,000 staff are committed to supporting offenders to help them address their offending and gain skills that will help them lead a crime-free life.


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